Toy’s ‘R’ Us Settles Consumer Lawsuit Involving Overcharging Allegations
If you thought that Toy’s ‘R’ Us was all about delightful toys, dreams coming true and happy children—think again. It’s more like pissed parents that were overcharged for their child’s Chinese made toys. Perhaps Toys ‘R’ Us decided to find creative ways to ratchet up their sales numbers due to competitive pressure brought on by retail giants Walmart and Target. One of those creative ways was by allegedly overcharging consumers. At least that’s what prosecutors in Los Angeles and San Diego County claim.
Officials in Los Angeles and San Diego County began an investigation into Toys ‘R’ Us starting in late 2009. The investigation lasted over two years and involved the purchasing of over 4,000 items. Officials allegedly found that overcharges occurred in one out of twenty purchases made. According to district attorneys, a higher percentage of overcharging was found in certain stores, despite the company’s pricing compliance program. As a result, the Los Angeles County and San Diego County District Attorney’s Offices filed a lawsuit alleging that Toys ‘R” Us overcharged shoppers throughout the State of California in thousands of transactions.
Toys ‘R’ Us will pay almost $180,000.00 to resolve the lawsuit. This amount includes investigation costs and civil penalties. Toys ‘R’ Us did not admit liability, but under the terms of a court entered Order, its California retail locations will be subjected to a directive requiring full compliance with California’s pricing accuracy and false advertising laws. Toy’s ‘R’ Us must also implement an internal compliance program with yearly reporting to the District Attorney’s Offices of Los Angeles and San Diego County.
The above example is just one way businesses can take advantage of consumers. Chances are you don’t have a district attorney policing every retailer and business you interact with for every unfair act they commit. That is why individual states have enacted a series of laws that are designed to protect consumers, provide guidelines for advertising and regulate how businesses interact with customers. There are a number of federal laws that do the same. In California, there is the Unfair Competition Law and Unfair Business Practices Act as set forth in the California Business and Professions Code, as well as the Consumers Legal Remedies Act as set forth in California Civil Code. These statutes allow for the private policing of businesses through lawsuits filed by wronged consumers. If you are a consumer that was taken advantage of by any business, and suffered damages as a result, you should consult an attorney at the Piccuta Law Group, LLP to determine if you have a case.